Cruz and Kasich Make a Desperate Bid to Derail Trump and They’ve Fallen Right Into His Trap

Source: AlterNet

Author: Sean Illing/Salon

Emphasis Mine

Ted Cruz and John Kasich have spent the last few months pretending like they had a chance to win a plurality of delegates. Kasich has been more open about the necessity of a contested convention, but he’s still behaved as though the delegate math were otherwise. Cruz, on the other hand, has insisted he’s the only candidate who can and will defeat Trump at the voting booth.

Well, that’s over. After the political bloodbath in New York, Cruz and Kasich have finally ceded to reality. The second-tier candidates have had a tenuous relationship throughout most of the campaign, particularly after everyone else dropped out. Both candidates have proffered some version of the I’m-the-only-one-who-can-win argument, and both have suggested at times that the other one should drop out in order to clear the way for a two-candidate race.

Now, however, it’s all about teamwork. Politico reported over the weekend that Cruz and Kasich are joining forces in a last-ditch effort to stop the Trump juggernaut. It’s an alliance of convenience to be sure, but also an overt admission that neither believes they have any chance of winning via democratic means. The singular goal now is to prevent Trump from acquiring enough delegates to secure the nomination on the first ballot.

Both campaigns have concluded it’s best to abandon certain states and instead focus resources in a few strategic areas where the other is no longer competing. “To ensure that we nominate a Republican who can unify the Republican Party and win in November,” Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe said, “our campaign will focus its time and resources in Indiana and in turn clear a path for Gov. Kasich to compete in Oregon and New Mexico, and we would hope that allies of both campaigns would follow our lead.”

This enables Cruz to dump all of his resources into Indiana, a state he has to win if he wants to prevent Trump from reaching a majority before July. There are 57 delegates at stake in the Hoosier state. The latest polls show Trump leading by an average of 6.3 points, but Cruz is closing the gap and will likely continue to do so now that he’s pulling out of places like Oregon and New Mexico.

In turn, Kasich, who had no chance in Indiana, can spend his time more effectively out West, where he is at least minimally competitive. “We will focus our time and resources in New Mexico and Oregon, both areas that are structurally similar to the Northeast politically, where Gov. Kasich is performing well,” said John Weaver, Kasich’s chief strategist. “We would expect independent third-party groups to do the same and honor the commitments made by the Cruz and Kasich campaigns.”

There’s now no doubt as to the strategy moving forward: block Trump from winning the nomination outright. Predictably, Trump fired back on Twitter, writing “Wow, just announced that Lyin’ Ted and Kasich are going to collude in order to keep me from getting the Republican nomination. DESPERATION.”

The Trump campaign released a statement this morning, clarifying their narrative: “When two candidates who have no path to victory get together to stop a candidate who is expanding the party by millions of voters, (all of whom will drop out if I am not in the race) it is yet another example of everything that is wrong in Washington and our political system. This horrible act of desperation, from two campaigns who have totally failed, makes me even more determined, for the good of the Republican Party and our country, to prevail!”

Trump has a point: This does smack of desperation, and it is an underhanded attempt to subvert the process. It won’t work, though. A move like this will cement the Trump vs. the establishment narrative in a way Trump could only dream of. His entire campaign is built on the presumption that Washington is rigged. This sort of collusion confirms that and will further antagonize his coalition. Cruz and Kasich might stop Trump from reaching 1,237 delegates, but this will heighten the drama and chaos at the convention. If an attempt is made to usurp Trump on a second or third ballot, his supporters will rightly see it as contrived and a cause for revolt.

Sean Illing is a USAF veteran and a former political science professor. He is currently a staff writer for Salon. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Read his blog here.

See:http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/cruz-and-kasich-make-desperate-bid-derail-trump-and-theyve-fallen-right-his-trap?akid=14194.123424.J36ELk&rd=1&src=newsletter1055259&t=10

The Right Responds to Paris With Bible-Thumping, Scientific Illiteracy, Frat Boy Antics

The situation in Syria is very serious, but conservatives keep responding in idiotic and childish ways.

Source: Salon via AlterNet

Author: Amanda Marcotte

Emphasis Mine

The Paris attacks brought renewed interest in ISIS and the ongoing crisis in Syria, and unsurprisingly, that means that we’ve all had to endure right-wingers rolling out the usual chest-thumping bravado from Republicans who have no personal worries about ever seeing combat. But never fear! Slobbering enthusiasm for war is far from the only right-wing neurosis that is being trotted out in response to the ISIS situation. Our friends on the right are also responding with usual mix of the Bible-thumping, anti-science rhetoric, and gross sexism they manage to work into nearly every conversation.

The right’s growing hostility to scientific evidence is on full display when it comes to the issue of how to deal with the millions of Syrians displaced by the civil war who are seeking some place safer to live. Hysteria over the refugees is reaching a fever pitch as right-wingers claim to be afraid that ISIS is smuggling terrorists with the refugees who will come kill us all.

Even on its surface, these claims of fear should provoke skepticism, and not just because ISIS is too busy begging Muslims to move to Syria to start smuggling people out. As the Paris attacks show, if ISIS wants to bomb something, they’re going to go after iconic cities that can be held out as modern Sodoms. In other words, they’d go after New York, not Birmingham. So why was Alabama the first state out of the gate to deny the refugees welcome?

But if you dig into the actual scientific evidence, it really shows how completely disconnected from reality the right is on this issue. As Michael Halpern, writing for the Union of Concerned Scientists, explains, the overwhelming scientific evidence shows that allowing people refuge from war is not only safe itself, it actually decreases the chance of future terrorism. In fact, looking over the evidence, it suggests that the best way to keep people safe is to bring in as many refugees as you can.

This isn’t just because none of the two million refugees accepted into our country since 1990 have committed terrorism, which can be compared that to the almost routine terrorism committed by native born right wingers. Research also shows that a refugee’s chance of embracing radical views is much reduced if he moves to some place like the United States or Western Europe. Relocating to a country that is closer often means being closer to the conflict and more likely to pick up on radical views that lead to terrorism. If you want a young man who is just beginning to form his views to turn away from radicalism, your best bet is moving him here.

But, as usual, Republicans don’t think they need science because they have religion. The Bible-thumping has gotten completely out of control in the past week, with Ted Cruz proposing a religious test for Syrian refugees—if you’re Christian, you’re in, if you’re Muslim, you’re not—and Mike Huckabee pretending that Muslims are the only people that commit terrorism.

Compared to this unvarnished hatred, John Kasich might look like a gentle soul, but his idea on how to deal with ISIS is the same thing in a prettier package. “We need to beam messages around the world about what it means to have a Western ethic, to be a part of a Christian-Judeo society,” he told NBC News, adding that he wanted to start an agency “to promote core Judeo-Christian, Western values that we and our friends and allies share.”

So he wants to broadcast targeted messages at Muslim populations that argue that Jews and Christians are better and more moral than Muslims. What could possibly go wrong?

Kasich may pretend he’s a moderate, but he’s buying into the same narrative as Cruz and Huckabee that this is some grand conflict between religions. Luckily, that happens to be ISIS’s message, too! I have no doubt that ISIS would love nothing more than the U.S. sending a bunch of messages out about how we think Christians (and, as an afterthought, Jews) are better than Muslims, because ISIS thrives on the idea that the differences between Muslims and Christians are irreconcilable and that war is the only answer.

Of course, not all responses from the right to the situation in Syria have been about Bible-thumping. The frat daddy contingent of the right that is mostly motivated by the ever-present fear that you might forget they have penises has to have their say, as well. For that set, of course, you have the Daily Caller, which ran a piece aimed at those men titled, “13 Syrian Refugees We’d Take Immediately.” (As it is a naked attempt to get traffic, I will not link. Rest assured my description will be enough.)

What follows is a bunch of photos from the Instagram account Syrian Girls Got Beauty, which is just what it seems to be, a fashion and beauty photo blog, presumably from Syria. There’s no evidence that any of the women are refugees or even know that their photos are being repurposed to make mock of the crisis in their country. The blog hasn’t been updated in over three months. Indeed, the photos aren’t even of 13 separate women—as a colleague of mine pointed out over email to those of us who were too appalled to look further, one of the women in the list is pictured twice.

But you have to give credit to the Daily Caller for really distilling the right-wing mentality down to the basics: Who cares about human rights, international relations, scientific evidence, thoughtful analysis, or even giving two minutes thought about something before forming some idiotic, knee-jerk opinion about it? It’s all about them: Their bigotries, their need to be told their religion is the best, their need to remind you every five seconds that they are heterosexual.

It’s a shame that we have to thank our lucky stars, in this environment, that at least we have a grown-up in the White House. Let’s hope it stays that way come November.

Amanda Marcotte co-writes the blog Pandagon. She is the author of “It’s a Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments.”

 

 

 

See:http://www.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/right-responds-paris-bible-thumping-scientific-illiteracy-frat-boy-antics?akid=13672.123424.K9DEnV&rd=1&src=newsletter1046025&t=14

Progressive Victories in Ohio, Mississippi, Maine, Arizona Provide Seven Key Lessons for 2012

The 99% versus the 1% frame is critical to making clear that the problem with our economy has nothing to do with how much teachers, or firefighters, or steel workers, or home care workers, or Social Security recipients make for a living. It has everything to do with growing economic inequality, the exploding financial sector, and an unproductive class of speculators and gamblers who don’t make anything of value but siphon off all of our increased productivity.

From:HuffPost

By:Robert Creamer.

“A year ago the Empire struck back. Right Wing money capitalized on anger at the economic stagnation that their own policies caused just two years before. They brought a halt to the hard-won progressive victories that marked the first two years of Barack Obama’s presidency.

Last night the progressive forces tested some of the weapons and tactics they will use in next year’s full-blown counter offensive. They worked very, very well.

Progressives won key elections in Ohio, Maine, Mississippi, and Arizona.

The importance of yesterday’s labor victory in Ohio cannot be overstated. It could well mark a major turning point in the history of the American labor movement -and the future of the American middle class.

The people of Ohio rejected right wing attempts to destroy public sector unions by an astounding 61% to 39%. Progressives in Ohio won 82 out of 88 counties.

In his “concession,” the author of the union-stripping bill, Governor John Kasich, looked like a whipped dog. He was.”

from the Plain Dealer 9.11.11

“Last night’s victory will have a direct and immediate impact on the livelihoods of thousands of middle class state employees in Ohio. It will stall similar attempts to destroy unions in other states. It will turbo-charge the campaign to oust Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker who jammed a union-stripping measure through his own legislature. And it will massively weaken Kasich and other Republicans in Ohio.

But last night’s victory also carried critical lessons for the progressive forces throughout America as we prepare for the crossroads, defining battle of 2012.

Lesson #1: Creating a Movement. The industrial state labor battles that culminated in last night’s overwhelming Ohio success transformed the image of unions from a large bureaucratic “special interest” that negotiates for workers and are part of the “establishment” — into a movement to protect the interests of the American Middle Class.

The Republican Governors who began these battles hoped to make a bold move to destroy union power. In fact, they have succeeded in creating their worst nightmare — the rebirth of a labor movement.

That is critically important for the future of unions – which by any measure provide the foundation of progressive political power in the United States. It also provides an important lesson for every element of the Progressive community.

These battles put the “movement” back in “labor movement.”

And the importance of “movement” can’t be overstated. Particularly at a time when people are unhappy with the direction of the country and desperately want change — they don’t want leaders who appear to be embedded parts of the status quo. They want to be part of movements for change.

Movements have three critical characteristics:

    • They make people feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves.
    • They make people feel that they themselves can play a significant role in bringing about that larger goal.
  • They involve “chain reactions” –– they go viral. You don’t have to only engage people in movements one by one or one or group by group. They begin to engage each other.

Because they make people feel that they are part of something larger than themselves — and that they can personally be a part of achieving that larger goal — movements inspire and empower. And for that reason they give people hope.

To win, Progressives must turn the anger and dissatisfaction with the present into inspiration and hope for the future.

The labor movement turned the battle in Ohio into a fight for the future of America’s middle class. It turned the battle into a fight over the dignity of everyday working people — and their right to have a say in their future. Instead of being about “contracts,” it was about “freedom.”

Lesson #2: It’s much easier to mobilize people to protect what they have than to fight for something to which they aspire.

Every one of the big victories yesterday involved battles that had been framed as attempts by the Right — or their allies on Wall Street – to take away the rights of everyday Americans.

In Ohio, it was the right to collectively bargain about their future. In Maine, it was the right to same-day voter registration. In Mississippi it was the right to use contraceptives –– once it became clear that the so-called “personhood” amendment was not just about abortion, but ultimately about a woman’s right to use birth control. In Arizona, it was the rights of Latino Americans.

And of course, that’s why the Republicans’ plan to privatize Social Security and eliminate Medicare are so toxic for them in the election next year.

Among referenda yesterday, the one progressive setback came in the largely symbolic vote — once again in Ohio — against the Health Care Reform Act’s mandate to buy insurance. The very same people who had voted against taking away the rights of their neighbors to join a union — also voted against being “forced” to buy health insurance.

The whole issue of the “mandate” is the major card the Right has played against the critically important Health Care Reform Act. Of course the whole issue could have been framed differently. The “mandate” to start paying Medicare premiums when you’re sixty-five isn’t framed as a “mandate.” People do it, both because they really want to get on Medicare, and because if they wait to pay premiums until they need it, their premiums go way up.

That’s why a Public Option was so popular with the voters. You got to choose to join something you wanted. But it’s also the way we should have framed the overall “mandate” to get insurance — with premium penalties if you fail to “opt in.”

Once the health care law becomes a fact on the ground that benefits ordinary people, every day, it will certainly become very popular. But that will wait until 2014 when most of its provisions go into effect. Once it does goes into effect, if they try to take away those benefits and the Right will run into a firestorm of opposition.

Of course if Romney is the Republican candidate next year, we don’t have to worry about the “mandate” issue at all. In fact, our attitude should be “go ahead, make my day.” It will be simple to neutralize any attack by Romney or Super-Pacs on Democrats about “mandates” by simply pointing out that the entire question is just one more example of how Romney has no core values — since he authored and passed the Massachusetts health care law built around “mandates.” In the end, Romney’s lack of core values is a much more powerful message than anything having to do with “mandates.”

Lesson #3: Framing the battle is key. In every one of these issue referenda, Progressives won the framing battle.

In Ohio, Progressives made the fight into a battle for the rights of the middle class — part of the overarching battle between the 99% and the 1%.

In Maine, Progressives made the battle into a fight over the right to register to vote. Of course the right wing frame was that eliminating same-day registration provided protection against “voter fraud.” That was pretty hard to sustain given the fact that there had been exactly two instances of “voter fraud” involving same-day registration in 28 years.

The Mississippi “personhood amendment” was framed as a battle over the rights of women to use birth control – not to make “miscarriage” a crime.

Lesson #4: Turnout is king. In Virginia, a Republican candidate leads his Democratic opponent by only 86 votes, so a recount will determine whether the Republicans there take control of the State Senate.

Turnout in the Virginia contests was low.

In Ohio, by contrast, 400,000 more voters went to the polls yesterday than in the elections in 2010. That’s one big reason why Progressives won.

And it wasn’t just inspiration and great messaging that turned them out. Rank and file union members and Progressives of all sorts conducted massive get out the vote efforts in every corner of the state.

After all, victory isn’t just about great strategy, mostly it’s about nuts and bolts — it’s about great execution. In Ohio they had both.

In Arizona, the Latino community mobilized to defeat the author of Arizona’s “papers please” law, State Senator Russell Pearce. He lost a recall election, by seven points, 52.4% to 45.4%. The Pearce defeat is just one more example of how the Republicans play the “immigration” card at their peril — and how important the Latino vote will be to the outcome next year in critical states like New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, Florida — and Arizona.

Pearce didn’t count on Latinos going out to vote. They did.

Lesson #5: Progressives win when we stand up straight. We won last night where we stood proudly for progressive values — planted the flag — mobilized our forces and took the offensive.

People in America are not looking for leaders who apologize for their progressive beliefs or are willing to compromise those principles even before they enter the fight. They want leaders who will fight for the middle class, and fight for change; who stand up against the big Wall Street banks and the CEO class that they believe – correctly – have siphoned off the nation’s wealth, and whose greed has caused the economy to collapse.

People are willing to compromise when it seems to advance the common good — but only after their leaders have done everything in their power to defend their interests — and have mobilized them to defend theirown interests.

Lesson #6: The face of the battle in Ohio was your neighbor.

The Republicans bet that they could make public employees the “Welfare Queens” of our time. They bet that they could make public employees the scapegoats for all that has gone wrong with the American economy — that they could divide the middle class against itself.

They bet wrong.

Turned out to be impossible to convince everyday Americans that firefighters, cops, and teachers were greedy villains. Normal voters recognized them as their neighbors — as people just like themselves.

The 99% versus the 1% frame is critical to making clear that the problem with our economy has nothing to do with how much teachers, or firefighters, or steel workers, or home care workers, or Social Security recipients make for a living. It has everything to do with growing economic inequality, the exploding financial sector, and an unproductive class of speculators and gamblers who don’t make anything of value but siphon off all of our increased productivity.

Lesson #7: Progressives win when we frame the issue as a moral choice.

In Ohio, Progressives did not frame the debate as a choice between two sets of policies and programs. They posed the question as a choice between two different visions of the future.

It was a choice between an America with a strong, vibrant, empowered middle class, where every generation can look forward to more opportunity than the one that went before – or, a society with a tiny wealthy elite and a massive population of powerless workers who do their bidding.

It was posed as a choice between a society where we’re all in this together –– where we look out for each other and take responsibility for our future as a country — or as a society where we’re all in this alone — where only the strong, or the clever, or the ruthless can thrive.

If given a clear, compelling choice, Americans will chose a progressive vision of the future every time.”

Robert Creamer is a long-time political organizer and strategist, and author of the book: Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win, available on Amazon.com. He is a partner in Democracy Partnersand a Senior Strategist for Americans United for Change. Follow him on Twitter @rbcreamer.


Emphasis Mine

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The right-wing’s shellacking

This week’s elections around the country were brought to you by the word “overreach,” specifically conservative overreach.

From: Washington Post

N.B.: what we have not been able to achieve on our own – building class consciousness – gets a big assist from the tea party: Thanks.

By:E.J. Dionne

“This week’s elections around the country were brought to you by the word “overreach,” specifically conservative overreach. Given an opportunity in 2010 to build a long-term majority, Republicans instead pursued extreme and partisan measures. On Tuesday, they reaped angry voter rebellions.

The most important was in Ohio, where voters overwhelmingly defeated Gov. John Kasich’s (R) bill to strip public-employee unions of essential bargaining rights. A year ago, who would have predicted that standing up for the interests of government workers would galvanize and mobilize voters on this scale? Anti- labor conservatives have brought class politics back to life, a major threat to a GOP that has long depended on the ballots of white working-class voters and offered them nothing in return.
Mississippi votes on the “personhood” amendment, which would designate a fertilized egg as a person. 
 
In Maine, voters exercised what that state calls a “people’s veto” to undo a Republican-passed law that would have ended same-day voter registration, which served Maine well for almost four decades.
What’s often lost is that the conservative Republicans elected in 2010 aren’t simply pushing right-wing policies. Where they can, they are also using majorities won in a single election to manipulate future elections — by making it harder for young and minority voters to cast ballots, and by trying to break the political power of unions. The votes in Maine and Ohio were a rebuke to this strategy.In Mississippi, perhaps the most conservative state in the union, voters beat back a referendum to declare a fertilized human egg a person by a margin of roughly 3-to-2. Here was overreach by the right-to-life movement,which tried to get voters to endorse a measure that could have outlawed popular forms of birth control and in vitro fertilization.The war against overreach extended to the immigration issue, too. Russell Pearce became, as the Arizona Republic noted, the first sitting state Senate president in the nation as well as the first Arizona legislator ever to lose a recall election. Pearce, who spearheaded viciously anti-immigrant legislation, was defeated by Jerry Lewis, a conservative with a mild demeanor. Lewis correctly saw his as a victory for restoring “a civil tone to politics.” This was a case of old-fashioned conservatism beating the Tea Party variety.And in Iowa, Democrats held their state Senate majority by winning a special election that had been engineered by Republican Gov. Terry Branstad. Occupy Wall Street, notice that elections matter: A Republican victory over Democrat Liz Mathis would have opened the way for Branstad to push through a cut in corporate income taxes.

Mathis’s defeat could also have allowed conservatives to amend the Iowa Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Mathis prevailed despite robocalls from an obscure group instructing voters to ask Mathis which gay sex acts she endorsed. (It should be said, as the Des Moines Register reported, that better-known organizations opposed to gay marriage denounced the calls.)

The one potential bright spot for Republicans was not as bright as it was supposed to be. In Virginia, both sides had expected the GOP to take over the state Senate. But at best, the Republicans will achieve a 20-to-20 tie, giving Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) a decisive role. And their chance of getting even to 20 hangs on the recount of an 86-vote margin in one district.

The split means Virginia has not reverted to its earlier status as a Republican bastion. It remains a purple state. Especially significant, Democratic consultant Mo Elleithee observed, were the party’s successes in the Washington suburbs and exurbs and in Hampton Roads, precisely the areas where President Obama needs to do well if he is to carry Virginia next year, as he did in 2008. Democrats also comfortably held the New Jersey Legislature, suggesting the limits of Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) much-touted political magic.

One of the only referendum results the GOP could cheer was a strong vote in Ohio against the health-insurance mandate. While health-reform supporters argued that the ballot question was misleading, the result spoke to the truly terrible job Democrats have done in defending what they enacted. They can’t let the health-care law remain a policy stepchild.

That useful warning aside, Tuesday’s results underscored the power of unions and populist politics, the danger to conservatives of social-issue extremism and the fact that 2010 was no mandate for right-wing policies. They also mean that if Republicans don’t back away from an agenda that makes middle-class, middle-of-the-road Americans deeply uncomfortable — and in some cases angry — they will lose the rather more important fight of 2012.

ejdionne@washpost.com

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